Monday, May 4, 2009

Putting Things into Perspective

“I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a firefighter The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we who know the work which the firefighter has to do believe that his is a noble calling.

There is an adage which says that, "Nothing can be destroyed except by fire." We strive to preserve from destruction the wealth of the world which is the product of the industry of men, necessary for the comfort of both the rich and the poor. We are defenders from fires of the art which has beautified the world, the product of the genius of men and the means of refinement of mankind. (But, above all; our proudest endeavor is to save lives of men-the work of God Himself.

Under the impulse of such thoughts, the nobility of the occupation thrills us and stimulates us to deeds of daring, even at the supreme sacrifice. Such considerations may not strike the average mind, but they are sufficient to fill to the limit our ambition in life and to make us serve the general purpose of human society.”

-- Chief Edward F. Croker FDNY circa 1910


“Firemen are going to get killed. When they join the department they face that fact. When a man becomes a fireman his greatest act of bravery has been accomplished. What he does after that is all in the line of work. They were not thinking of getting killed when they went where death lurked. They went there to put the fire out, and got killed. Firefighters do not regard themselves as heroes because they do what the business requires.”

-- Chief Edward F. Croker, FDNY,speaking upon the death of a deputy chief and four firefighters in February of 1908


"The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example"
Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister 1804-1881

"True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost".
Arthur Ash, 1943-1993

NFFF EGH 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives

  1. Define and advocate the need for a cultural change within the fire service relating to safety; incorporating leadership, management, supervision, accountability and personal responsibility.
  2. Enhance the personal and organizational accountability for health and safety throughout the fire service.
  3. Focus greater attention on the integration of risk management with incident management at all levels, including strategic, tactical, and planning responsibilities.
  4. All firefighters must be empowered to stop unsafe practices.
  5. Develop and implement national standards for training, qualifications, and certification (including regular recertification) that are equally applicable to all firefighters based on the duties they are expected to perform.
  6. Develop and implement national medical and physical fitness standards that are equally applicable to all firefighters, based on the duties they are expected to perform.
  7. Create a national research agenda and data collection system that relates to the initiatives.
  8. Utilize available technology wherever it can produce higher levels of health and safety.
  9. Thoroughly investigate all firefighter fatalities, injuries, and near misses.
  10. Grant programs should support the implementation of safe practices and/or mandate safe practices as an eligibility requirement.
  11. National standards for emergency response policies and procedures should be developed and championed.
  12. National protocols for response to violent incidents should be developed and championed.
  13. Firefighters and their families must have access to counseling and psychological support.
  14. Public education must receive more resources and be championed as a critical fire and life safety program.
  15. Advocacy must be strengthened for the enforcement of codes and the installation of home fire sprinklers.
  16. Safety must be a primary consideration in the design of apparatus and equipment.
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